Australia were the Test team to beat for the majority of the 2000s.
Iconic names such as Matthew Hayden, Ricky Ponting, Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath decimated all comers, but there were a lot of depth players who had their careers at the international level stunted by the continued dominance.
Here is a team of players that could’ve had much more notable Test careers if it wasn’t for the incredible exploits of the stars.
1. Phil Jaques
Opening our batting is one of the finest domestic cricketers of the noughties, Jaques was brilliant for New South Wales at Sheffield Shield level, even winning the award for best domestic cricketer in Australia for his 2005/06 season.
He managed 11 Tests – no mean feat in an era of Hayden and Justin Langer opening the batting – notching up three centuries. With a Test average of 47.47, you have to wonder just how good he could have been had depth and injury not plagued him.
2. Simon Katich
One of the more experienced members of this squad, having played 56 Tests for Australia, Katich was the perennial next in line for much of his career. He was in and out of the side for much of the decade, being sent to the middle order as well as opening duties.
He would eventually become somewhat of a regular towards the end of the decade, but he was one of the big losers out of Australia’s deep talent pool.
3. Martin Love
With Ricky Ponting occupying the No.3 spot, it would’ve taken the second coming of Don Bradman to dislodge the Aussie captain. The Queensland star made five Test match appearances for his country, but despite his consistent performances at domestic level he could never nail down a permanent place.
4. Darren Lehmann
The former Australian coach could have certainly carved out a more distinguished Test career if it wasn’t for the small matter of Steve Waugh.
A Test average of nearly 45 and five Test centuries are accomplishments not to be sneezed at, however there was potential for much more.
5. Brad Hodge (C)
Possibly the poster child for Test misfortune, Hodge earned himself six Test matches for Australia but even after the exodus that followed the 2006/07 Ashes, he couldn’t force his way into the team.
He crafted two centuries, including a brilliant unbeaten 203 against South Africa. He’s got the captaincy of this team as well, as I can’t think of an unluckier player.
6. Andrew Symonds
Symonds may have been most effective in the shorter forms of the game but was still a handy Test cricketer and deserved more than his 26 appearances.
Despite brilliant centuries against England and India, he will always be remembered for both his disciplinary issues and the vitriol directed at him by Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh during the 2007/08 summer.
7. Brad Haddin
Like Katich, Haddin would eventually get his time in the sun, but the amount of time he was forced to patiently wait his turn validates his spot in the list.
Nobody was going to dislodge Adam Gilchrist, who was not only a top gloveman but a brilliant batter as well. Haddin was forced to wait for years to get his chance, eventually debuting in 2008. He would go on to play 66 Tests, but if not for Gilchrist that number would be a lot higher.
8. Andy Bichel
The record holder for the most 12th man appearances for Australia, being assigned 19 times, Bichel constantly found himself trying to fight past McGrath, Jason Gillespie and Brett Lee to get a game. Taking 58 wickets across his 19 Tests, a shoulder injury would ultimately be his demise, leaving a lot of potential on the table.
9. Stuart Clark
Always an underrated bowler, Clark’s downfall was being too similar but not as good as Glenn McGrath.
A difficult-to-dispatch seamer, he was a very strong line and length bowler who was more than capable of taking a few scalps. A star of the 2006/07 Ashes whitewash, Clark took 94 wickets across 24 Tests.
10. Stuart MacGill
Managing to take 200 Test wickets despite sporadic selection and competing with Australia’s best ever spinner is an underrated achievement.
MacGill only got his chance on decks that favoured two spinners or when Shane Warne was serving his suspension, but always stepped up to the plate when called upon. Could have easily doubled his wicket total if it wasn’t for Warne.
11. Shaun Tait
This one may be controversial, but despite his erratic nature Tait could have carved out a decent Test career for himself if it wasn’t for Brett Lee.
One of those bowlers who can best be described as expensive but effective, the man they called ‘The Wild Thing’ only earned Test selection three times, taking five wickets.